Tuesday, June 2, 2015

What is Your Ultimate Goal? Part II

Spirit’s messages lie just beyond the veil.  But we must be willing to clear the barriers before our eyes, silence the noise within our mind and question the assumptions we have made for most of our lives. To hear this Inner Wisdom we need to pause and be open to the myriad ways the Great Communicator transmits those joyous messages. 

I find that I receive insights when I least expect them. I might be reading a book and a passage will jump out at me. Or, a person may make an innocent statement that at once appears to be concocted precisely for me. The other day my horoscope, which I generally read for humor, plainly hit the nail-on-the-head. It precisely talked about a path, which I am seriously contemplating traveling, in almost the exact words that were used when my teacher and I discussed my plan.  

And then, it was on one of my walks around the neighborhood while listening to a Ted Talk/NPR podcast episode entitled Champions that I started making connections between the challenges and revelations discussed by the guests to my study of A Course in Miracles.

The second highlighted speaker on the show who offered inspiring statements was Amy Purdy.  Amy was an able-bodied, nationally ranked snowboarder who developed life-threatening bacterial meningitis, a blood infection that landed her on life support.  Doctors gave this superb athlete a less than 2% chance of living.  Said Amy, “I was physically, spiritually, emotionally broken.”

The infection took its toll.  Doctors had to amputate both of Amy’s legs below the knees. They had to remove both kidneys, as well as her spleen, and she lost complete hearing in her left ear. Amy Purdy came close to losing her nose and both hands. And her life.

Amy shared her process of healing:

“I began to daydream: I imagined myself walking gracefully and snowboarding again. I didn’t just imagine myself carving down a mountain of powder,” said Amy, “I could actually feel it! I could feel the wind against my face and the beating of my heart as if it were happening in that very moment. And that is when a new chapter in my life began.”

(While still in the hospital) “All I would think about is snowboarding, not if I would do it again, but when I would do it again. Four months later I was back up on a snowboard.  This past February, I won 2 back-to-back World Cup Gold Medals, and I am now the highest ranked adapted female snowboarder in the world.”

Of her ability to move past such a life-threatening challenge, Amy revealed, “It’s not about breaking down borders it’s about pushing off of them and seeing what amazing places they might bring us. I’m better because I work harder at it. The motivation comes from wanting to figure it out, of finding a way.”

What can Amy Purdy teach me about reaching my goal of remembering my Oneness with My Creator through forgiveness?

1.    When I quiet my mind, I can imagine myself free of guilt, fear and pain and for brief moments I’m in the realm of my Creator and feel nothing but peace. I see the Light and I feel its gentle, healing warmth throughout my soul.

2.    Amy said, “It’s not about breaking down borders it’s about pushing off of them and seeing what amazing places they might bring us.”

·      What are my borders or my barriers to finding peace? Could they include the too-well tuned egoic thinking? The scenarios of fear and attack that have been bred into me by a world that believes that fear lurks around every corner and that we must attack first in order to survive?  How can I push off of the ego and rebound into the realm of my Natural Home, that of my Inner Wisdom? Perhaps the answer lies in slamming the door shut on egoic thoughts and pushing off of that portal into my given Homeland.

3.    “I’m better because I work harder at it.”

·      Look at how long I’ve/we’ve worked at living our lives in the darkness? It will take vigilance and study to change this ingrained, knee-jerk reaction way of looking at life. It will take vision to see.

4.    “The motivation comes from wanting to figure it out, of finding a way.”

·      “There must be a better way,” said William Thetford to Helen Schucman.  It was then that Jesus’ words were ‘heard,’ and A Course in Miracles was revealed. For me, the road to ‘the better way’ has already been paved. With Love. I simply need to stay the Course!

Inspired by, God is the only goal I have today. W-256
A Course in Miracles, Second Edition
Foundation for Inner Peace, 1996.

Bottom picture by Barbara Franco Adams (c)2012

Monday, June 1, 2015

What is Your Ultimate Goal? Part I

Perhaps it’s my background and experience in interscholastic and intercollegiate athletics. During each workout and each practice we set individual and team goals. Whether it was to run faster, throw farther and more accurately, or increase our repetitions, we had something to aim for so that the ultimate goal of winning the next competition could have the greatest possibility of becoming a reality.

Maybe it’s my education and experience as a teacher. Preparing for each class, I set goals, which I strove to attain by meeting specific measurable objectives.

Then later in my career as an administrator, one of the goals my first year was to have a reduction in the written disciplinary referrals sent to my office by no less than 25%. Through a team approach with the gifted teachers with whom I worked, we not only met, we exceeded our expectations by reducing referrals by a whopping 50%. That’s unheard of! But we did it by agreeing on the end result, jointly developing a plan, then ensuring implementation of the plan.  We let nothing sway us in achieving our goal.

As I was listening to a TED Talk (ted.com) on NPR, entitled Champions, I found myself thinking back to those above experiences. You can’t hit the target without knowing where to aim, and you can’t reach your destination without mapping out a plan of your journey.

But, even more to the point today, I couldn’t help but draw analogies from the Talks to my study of A Course in Miracles. My Course teacher, Patti Fields (pattifields.com) asked this question of the participants at our most recent retreat on the Holy Instant: “What are your intentions/your goal when practicing the teachings?”

It got me to thinking whether I had been as vigilant in my Course studies as I had been in other practical applications of achieving success.

In the Ted Talks/NPR series, each of the speakers spoke of successes, obstacles and setbacks. The highlight of their presentations focused on overcoming unbelievable challenges to reach their ultimate goal.

Diana Nyad, the long distance swimmer faced, among other things, life threatening jelly fish stings that compromised her respiratory system and made her feel as though her entire body were on fire.  Yet, in her fifth attempt she succeeded…at 64 years of age…to swim 110 miles from Cuba to Key West. And without a shark cage.

While listening to Diana being interviewed on NPR, which included excerpts from her TED Talk, she made the following statements about pursing her goal: “I asked myself, ‘Do you have it?’”  And, “I’m going to go to the nth degree…(to achieve my goal)?” She said, “My mantra during my training and during my swim was, Find a way.

As I relate Diana Nyad’s story of goal setting, perseverance, determination and belief to my study of the Course, I ask myself some interesting but very important questions about realizing my goal: Forgiving my brothers and sisters of what I perceive as their sins, which will help me to remember that we are all One with God.

1.     Do I have it? 
  • The perseverance to stick with my study? 
  • The determination to forgive my brothers and sisters as well as myself?
  • The belief that I truly am One with God, and one with my brothers and sisters?

2.     Am I going to the nth degree to reach my goal?

  • What are the choices that I make at every turn, every day?
  • Do I choose loving thoughts over judgmental conclusions? 
  • Do I have a laser-like focus on Heaven, which I can experience at every NOW moment?
  • Do I put my goals forefront in my mind and let nothing, but nothing dissuade me from attaining them?

3.      Will I find a way? 
  •  Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford were determined to find another way. Will I find my way through the Course so that I may realize my goal?

Inspired by, God is the only goal I have today. W-256
A Course in Miracles, Second Edition
Foundation for Inner Peace, 1996.

Bottom photo by Barbara Franco Adams (c)2012